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Computers and Education: Teaching Virtuality

Between Reality and the Virtual:
Education in the 21st Century


Paul Grobstein
23 June 2008

(notes for a talk in the Computer Science Education Summer Institute)

Questions to start

  • What role do computers and the internet/web play in education today?
  • What role will they play in the future?
  • What role should they play?
  • Your thoughts ...


  • Real world versus virtual worlds
  • Computing/internet web: adjuncts to traditional education versus opening for new/better educational practices
  • Education as mastery versus education as development of inquiry skills

Acknowledging the virtual in "reality"

The computer as tool for inquiry education, comparable to telescopes/microscopes Learning in/from virtual worlds Bottom line of this story
  • The line between reality and the virtual is becoming, will continue to become increasingly blurred
  • Students need (have always needed?) to acquire increased sophistication in working in the space between reality and the virtual ... in virtuality
  • Computers and virtual worlds have an important role to play in enhancing such sophistication
  • Computer models, like any other subject of exploration, need to be approached as incentives for inquiry rather than as answers
Your thoughts?